Amadeus has teamed up with Ljubljana Airport in Slovenia, Adria Airways and LOT Polish Airlines to run a biometric boarding pilot, with 175 participating passengers successfully boarded in a record time.

The pilot saw passengers enrol using an Amadeus smartphone app that captured a ‘selfie’ alongside their passport photo and boarding pass, which were all stored securely on a remote server. A photo of the passenger was then captured at the boarding gate and matched against those stored on the server to validate the passenger’s identity and flight status. On successful matching, a message was conveyed to the Departure Control System and the passenger was able to board smoothly. All biometric data was deleted within 48 hours ensuring GDPR compliance.

Amadeus said the pilot saw average boarding times reduced by approximately 75%, meaning boarding took two seconds compared to the typical five to ten seconds per passenger.

“This pilot marks an important milestone in our journey towards a remotely hosted biometrics solution for the industry where travellers only need to enrol once,” said Bruno Spada, executive vice president Airport IT at Amadeus. “Our solution is in line with IATA’s One ID vision meaning it works across all participating airports and airlines so passengers can arrive at the airport ready to travel.”

He continued: “Our approach addresses the fundamental problem of biometrics in airports today: the need for passengers to register at each airport separately. With a centrally hosted solution that sits between airports, airlines and passengers, we will deliver a common standards approach that works for everyone. Importantly, this means biometrics can be rolled out and scaled up quickly in areas such as check-in, security and boarding.”

The pilot at Ljubljana focused specifically on improving how passengers board the aircraft, though the platform is designed to work across all ID verification pain points at the airport, including check-in, security, lounge access and boarding.

Bostjan Rakovec, head of IT, Fraport Slovenija, said: “We recently began a partnership with Amadeus, undergoing a full-scale modernization of our IT systems. Innovation is our focus and biometrics is an area we feel Ljubljana can stand-out on by helping airlines to improve decades-old processes.”

Amadeus suggest that with passenger numbers rising, airport infrastructure “is being pushed to its limits” and could result in increasingly lengthy queues. “The industry recognises the immense potential of biometric technology as a solution to these challenges, enabling faster and smoother airport processes for passengers.”

Misel Mencinger, ground operations at Adria Airways, said: “The pilot supports the strategy of Adria Airways to make boarding smoother and more efficient and further improve the experience of our passengers. We are very encouraged by the results of the pilot with high levels of passenger acceptance and a significant reduction in average boarding times. Biometrics offers the industry another technological leap that will improve how people travel.”

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